BERLIN --- The German parliament on Friday approved a big spending boost of 5.7 billion euros ($6.47 billion) for major weapons programmes in coming years, including plans to buy a new U.S.-built heavy-lift helicopter that had run into trouble.
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the move during a visit to troops at the Holzdorf air base 100 km south of Berlin, the same place where she disclosed this summer that funding for the programme was uncertain.
A longer-term budget planning document accompanying the 2019 budget revisions called for total spending of 5.6 billion on the new helicopters - which will be purchased from either U.S. arms maker Lockheed Martin or its rival Boeing.
“This is very good news for the readiness of the Bundeswehr because we urgently need to replace old equipment,” von der Leyen said, citing the wear and tear to the current fleet of CH-53G helicopters during 17 years in Afghanistan. (end of excerpt)
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